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Poster: William Tell Date: Aug 19, 2011 6:18am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'...they weren't...

Of course, it's all in the ear of the beholder, but for me, for us at the time in the early 70s, the great appeal was that the DEAD were "apolitical" in a serious way...we were sick and tired of all the "causes", and political rallies--the folks with their "fist out" (or any cause for that matter)--made us squirm. It was time to realize that each individual, or small groups, living their particular way of life (which via the DEAD is a fundamentally "humanist perspective", but that's a whole other discussion...:)), was perhaps more important that effecting world change via the approaches adopted by various groups thus far (the prior ten yrs say).

This is not to say the Berk Free Speech nor CivRights, nor other movements were not highly valued, but that it was a turn away from the in your face, join up and stick it to the establishment overtly, that held value for many of us that were coming of age at a time when we were greatly disillusioned by the ineffectiveness of much of that way of dealing with the world. Again, I perhaps sound as if I am devaluing something like the war protests, which in the end, did have a strong effect, but this was not the "way of the DEAD", and we embraced that...

And not just cause we were wimps. I'd call it "informed cynicism, with a hint of self-indulgence".

Oh, FWIW, have you never danced at a local armory? We went to many--they were the local est available for such things when the civic center was closed/used...

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Aug 19, 2011 6:33am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'...they weren't...

Have you ever read the book by Candace Brightman's sister, "Sweet Chaos: The Grateful Dead's American Adventure"? Apparently it makes an effort to put the Dead into the radical political context of the time, which she was more involved with. I haven't read it; but I'm curious what take she has on the connections. Sounds like the book is rather forced, but the relationships (or intentional non-relationships) between the Dead and their "differently radical" peers could be interesting.

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Poster: bkidwell Date: Aug 19, 2011 12:16pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'...they weren't...

I read "Sweet Chaos" but I don't have a particular recollection of the political content of the book. I enjoyed it and thought it was well researched and well written, but didn't really tell me anything that I hadn't already learned from a lot of other sources. I've got it on my bookshelf, I will try to find a few minutes to skim through it again and see how it relates to your question, AR.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Aug 19, 2011 6:48am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'...they weren't...

Don't get me wrong, they were certainly at the center of the storm, and for the establishment, represented the hedonistic alt lifestyle that caused fathers to fear for their daughters (I can just imagine you and Ring and the heartache you caused? :) ), but in a "drop out,...live a good life, and be kind..." kinda way? IE, the connections to those folks were often not of their choosing, and I see Garcia as the ultimate cynic, ever retreating to do his own thing.

In essence, I see the DEAD as a huge flashing light for "do your own thing, don't hurt anyone while doing it if possible, and be wary of anyone with a cause". Seriously.

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Poster: matchstickstatue Date: Aug 19, 2011 9:00am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'...they weren't...

I've always thought of the Dead's relation to real politics as comparable to Kerouac's. Burroughs nails it here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CD4ofEoUpxE

Certainly K was apolitical, and by the end even reactionary; but without that shining example, you don't have the progressive action of Ginsberg, Sanders and the wider 60s revolt, even if he grew to hate them (and himself) for it. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think you could say the same of the Dead, whose fruits in carrying that generation's legacy on to others weren't expected or desired by the band, but can certainly be traced back to a clear tree.

Incidentally, you can get the first half of that Firing Line episode, here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oaBnIzY3R00&;feature=related

We'll never get TV like that again.

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Poster: ringolevio Date: Aug 19, 2011 9:35am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'...they weren't...

>be wary of anyone with a cause".

Estimated Prophet is in this vein also, altho more about steering clear of religious causes than political.

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Aug 19, 2011 6:52am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'...they weren't...

Actually, that's how I tend to hear Cream Puff War. Which I think is a wrong interpretation ... it's just Jerry trying to express something he's observed about a relationship. But I hear parts of it as also expressing, "we're tired of you folks wallowing in anger and shouting it out on the streets." It's almost as if that aspect of his inclination comes out in a subtle way when he tried to be a more typical songwriter. Though probably I'm over-analyzing.

The funny thing is that I bet I went to more protests and so on over the years than Dead shows. I definitely did my share of planning rallies, handing out fliers, etc. (I mean, sheesh, just cuz I missed Vietnam didn't mean I had to miss the fun!) I didn't feel a contradiction, but I also would never say the Dead were political. Radical in their own way, sure, but not political as a band. (Whatever they might have thought or said individually ... or not.) Of course, you can always say "the personal is political," and then that covers just about everything :-)

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Poster: BornEasement Date: Aug 19, 2011 8:17am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'...they weren't...

For another perspective... I think someone like Harold Bloom would describe them as straddling the border between the "Green" (think pastoral and transcendant) and the "Black" (Apocalyptic, existential, eschatological) artistic ethea.

Generally the "red" (revolutionary, political, social-materialistic) paradigm was contained to those few bobby songs that have been listed here.

but then, if I wanted colours, I would just listen to Donovan.

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Poster: Finster Baby Date: Aug 19, 2011 6:35am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'...they weren't...

Don't believe I've ever been to an armory for any reason, let alone dancing. I grew up, and as an adult still am, a suburbanite, so maybe that is why.
not aware of too many armories in the suburbs. At least, not in my neck of the woods. Rightly or wrongly, I always think of an armory as more of an urban thing!

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Poster: William Tell Date: Aug 19, 2011 6:44am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'...they weren't...

Hey FB--do you know the Bay Area, like Rasta and a few others round here? They were often in distant towns, that were swallowed up by suburbia...EG, Walnut Creek, a classic suburb in the E Bay, had one in the downtown area, as they were always associated with civic land, and eventually, they are turned into "other things" but in the 50s-60s, early 70s, they were a bldg with a big aud, and had many a dance...ord & such stored nearby, and/or in the basement. So, you'd be surprised where they were originally, as long as your suburb started out as a small town way back when...